MLS to Partner with Precious Payload

Maritime Launch Services Cyclone 4M rocket. Credit: Maritime Launch Services.

Nova Scotia’s Maritime Launch Services (MLS) and US/UAE-based Precious Payload announced earlier this month that they’ll be entering into a partnership on space launches. MLS will be offering space launch opportunities using Precious Payload’s online platform. 

Precious Payload is aiming to become a one-stop-shop for organizations looking to put their payloads into space. Their various building modules like “Launch.ctrl”, “Insurance.ctrl”, “Ground.ctrl”, “Mission.ctrl” and others, let customers find everything from launch companies, to mission control specialists, to subsystem suppliers and even cloud storage providers. Potential vendors are able to describe and advertise their services on Precious Payload’s platform, and potential clients are in turn able to create and submit RFIs and RFPs for vendors to respond to. 

Precious Payload also provides other mission coordination tools such as “templates for mission descriptions,” and a “workplace for team collaboration” to connect customers and providers, and allow customers to explore all their different options for taking their payloads to orbit.

Maritime Launch Services, in turn, is in the process of building Canada’s first commercial space launch facility since the failed effort of Akjuit Aerospace in the 1990’s. “Spaceport Nova Scotia” is located near Canso, Nova Scotia, and will also be one of the few purely commercial launch facilities anywhere in the world. MLS is working with Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash to bring the Ukrainian Cyclone 4M medium-lift launch vehicle to Canada, with the first launch schedule for 2025. The spaceport has passed its Preliminary Design Review and its Provincial environmental assessment, and Nanoracks has been announced as the first launch client for the MLS Cyclone 4M rocket.

MLS will also be launching Reaction Dynamics’ small-lift hybrid-engine Aurora rockets, with an initial suborbital launch happening in the summer of 2023 and orbital launches beginning in 2024.  MLS has also signed a white-label agreement with Scotland’s Skyrora to launch satellites for both MLS and Skyrora clients, using Skyrora’s small-lift Skyrora XL vehicle. The timeline for Skyrora launches, however, is still unclear.  The company attempted a suborbital launch in November which failed.

MLS will be joining Precious Payload’s “Launch.ctrl” module, and will be able to make connections with potential launch customers though that platform. As MLS is a “multi-tenant facility,” MLS could end up providing a variety of different launch options through Launch.ctrl, including the Cyclone 4M, the Aurora, the Skyrora XL, and potentially others—depending on what size and type of launcher a customer might prefer. 

In the release, Precious Payload CEO Andrew Maximov said that “commercial spaceports are in full swing, exploring how to become a multi-tenant facility which provides services for licensing, operations, range – sometimes also pre-launch, testing, and integration – and of course, launch operations. We’ve chosen Maritime Launch as a pioneer of this model, and we’re eager to help prove their business case and set a precedent for the rest of the industry.” 

In an email to SpaceQ, a spokesperson for MLS said that “the Launch.ctrl platform will minimize costs and development timelines while maximizing launch schedule reliability and mission assurance for our clients.” They added that “its easy-to-use templates for mission description and the workplace for team collaboration bridge the gap between payload engineers working on future spacecraft design elements, and a launch provider’s business development, sales, marketing, and launch-management teams. 

The MLS spokesperson said that “given this offering and benefit to our clients, partnering with Precious Payload was a no-brainer for Maritime Launch”, and that they “continue to update the Launch.ctrl website so clients can book an opportunity to launch from Spaceport Nova Scotia.”

About Craig Bamford

Craig started writing for SpaceQ in 2017 as their space culture reporter, shifting to Canadian business and startup reporting in 2019. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, and has a Master's Degree in International Security from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He lives in Toronto.

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